Election 2024

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Indy Elections: How PACs hide donors

Plus: Recent polls and Senate ad messaging
Riley Snyder
Riley Snyder
Tabitha Mueller
Tabitha Mueller
Gabby Birenbaum
Gabby Birenbaum
Eric Neugeboren
Eric Neugeboren
Indy Elections

Indy Elections is The Nevada Independent’s newsletter devoted to comprehensive and accessible coverage of the 2024 elections, from the race for the White House to the bid to take control of the Legislature.

In today’s edition: We explore how PACs are taking advantage of a loophole in state law and break down a trio of polls, two of which show former President Donald Trump winning in Nevada. We also look at new ads, including one from the Culinary Union attacking a state senator running for re-election. Read to the end for details on U.S. Senate hopeful Sam Brown reversing his position on Yucca Mountain and for our roundup of notable social media posts.

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We want to hear from you! Send us your questions, comments, observations, jokes or what you think we should be covering or paying attention to. Email your newsletter editor Tabitha Mueller at [email protected].

By the Numbers: 

  • 9 days until early voting ends
  • 13 days until the primary election
  • 250 days until the start of the legislative session (but who’s counting?)

Transparency? In my Nevada?

By Riley Snyder and Tabitha Mueller

The barrage of political mail is one of the surest signs that election season is in full force.

These mail pieces are legally required to list who paid for their production, and interested voters (or political reporters) can typically look up the candidate or group that paid for these ads and who is funding them.

But what if you can’t?

PACs across the state are taking advantage of a state law loophole that effectively allows them to register and spend money on ads influencing the primary election without having to report their donors, at least until a month after the primary election.

Take a look at our story today to learn more about these PACs and what races they’re getting involved in, including those for a North Las Vegas state senate seat and a Washoe County Commission race.

What we’re reading and writing

Top GOP super PAC not spending in Vegas-area House races, breaking from past cycles by Gabby Birenbaum

Has the GOP given up on Nevada’s congressional races?

Nevada Supreme Court rules voter ID ballot measure can move forward by Riley Snyder

Just 102,000 signatures left to go.

Politicians are reporting more harassment. Just ask candidates in Washoe County races. By Carly Sauvageau

What’s happening in Washoe County is a “symptom of a broader disease.”

What’s at stake in the two Washoe County Commission races this year? by Carly Sauvageau

Clara Andriola on the hot seat.

The three most interesting Assembly primaries in Nevada by Tabitha Mueller and Eric Neugeboren

Just 13 more days to go.

Could veterans swing Nevada's 2024 Senate race? by Gabby Birenbaum

Rosen has been active on behalf of veterans, but what will happen if she runs against one? 

Meet Marty: Halo composer backed by Lombardo would be among wealthiest House members by Gabby Birenbaum

O’Donnell takes on a political “side quest.” 

Indy Poll Watch

We’re taking a look at a bevy of recent Nevada presidential polling to make sense of highly disparate results. Here’s what we’re working with:

To recap: Trump is winning in two of three polls. The inclusion of independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. helps Biden, except in the poll where he’s tied with Trump. 

Confused yet?

Perhaps the best conclusion we can draw is that Nevada is difficult to survey.

Two things I’m going to be monitoring during the next few months, especially after the Trump and Biden debate, are: Will RFK Jr.’s vote share go down as voters begin to accept that we have a presidential rematch? And given that partisans are more likely to vote than nonpartisans, how much support is each candidate retaining from their bases when we break down crosstabs? 

Gabby Birenbaum

Indy Ad Watch

AD-NALYSIS OF THE WEEK: Senate race heats up

With four candidates up on the air in the Nevada Senate race, viewers are getting very different messages.

Ads from Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) speak to marquee Democratic achievements and bipartisan bonafides. Despite not facing any strong primary threats, her campaign is actually outspending all other Republican candidates and has spent nearly $3.5 million on ads so far, according to AdImpact.

Rosen is also hoping to inject housing into the Senate race, advertising on securing affordable housing funds for the state and legislation she has to crack down on corporate price gouging.

Sam Brown’s ad largely focuses on immigration and Biden.

The latest ad from Jeff Gunter attacks Brown for a recording of comments he made supporting a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Gunter makes the case that as a dermatologist, he’s treated skin cancer patients and has “seen the damage radiation can do” and thus opposes Yucca and Brown’s stance.

Gabby Birenbaum


  • U.S. Senate Race: Jacky Rosen - MAGA Extremist Sam Brown
    • Began Airing: 5/22
    • Total Spend: $302,000
    • Ad Impressions (number of times an advertisement was seen, regardless of whether the user took any action): 12.9 million
  • U.S. Senate Race: Jacky Rosen - Do Something
    • Began Airing: 5/22
    • Total Spend: $250,400
    • Ad Impressions: 10.2 million
  • U.S. Senate Race: Jeff Gunter - Nuclear Waste Plan
    • Began Airing: 5/15
    • Total Spend: $119,600
    • Ad Impressions: 5.4 million
  • Las Vegas Mayoral Race: Victoria Seaman - Public Safety
    • Began Airing: 5/18
    • Total Spend: $114,500
    • Ad Impressions: 5.1 million


  • The Culinary Union is out with a new ad criticizing Sen. Rochelle Nguyen (D-Las Vegas) for receiving more than $100,000 from the casino industry after helping bring a measure to sunset daily room cleaning requirements that were implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. The union did receive daily room cleaning as part of its five-year contract negotiations with major Las Vegas resorts.


Tabitha Mueller

The Lightning Round

Brown reverses on Yucca — Brown reversed his support for storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain last week, saying in a social media post that “it should not, and will not, be revived as a nuclear waste repository.” In April, the Los Angeles Times published audio of Brown expressing support for the project in 2022, noting that “Nevada could use another great source of revenue.” 

SOS unveils policies to speed up releases of election results — The Nevada Secretary of State’s Office is adopting new policies to accelerate the release of vote counts. Beginning at 8 a.m. on Election Day, county election officials will be able to start tabulating early voting ballots and mail ballots received before Election Day, the office announced in a press conference last week. County election officials must also provide their first batch of results by 6 p.m. on Election Day for verification and quality assurance. The secretary of state’s office said county elections officials likely did not count any ballots until polls closed on Election Day in past cycles.

💸Everyone agrees on improving internet access —  Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo announced a $250 million investment last week to place fiber-optic cables in areas that lack internet connectivity, but neglected to mention Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Las Vegas), who helped create the funding mechanism for the program. In a social media post after the announcement, Rosen highlighted her role in acquiring the funding for Nevada, saying, “Glad to see it being put to good use by [Lombardo] and his Administration!”

✉️ Lombardo letter supports Clark County fire chief running for Senate — A Lombardo-affiliated PAC recently sent a letter to residents of Senate District 18 urging them to support Republican candidate John Steinbeck. The letter emphasized the race’s importance in determining whether Lombardo maintains his veto power. Steinbeck held a significant fundraising lead through March in the three-man GOP primary.

Eric Neugeboren and Tabitha Mueller

Looking Ahead

👮 Wednesday, May 29 — Two police officers who were injured during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol are holding campaign events for Biden in Las Vegas and Reno. The officers will meet with elected officials and community members to discuss the level of increasing political violence.

🗓️Friday, June 7 — Early voting ends! Check out our guide for information about candidates, how to participate and the latest election news.

Eric Neugeboren and Tabitha Mueller

And to ease you into the week, a few “posts” to “X” that caught our eye: 

We’ll see you next week.

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Editor’s note: This story appears in Indy Elections, The Nevada Independent’s newsletter dedicated to comprehensive coverage of the 2024 elections. Sign up for the newsletter here.


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